Skype Interview Guide
How to shine online
Working in the creative industries often demands a lot of international travel, so it can be difficult to coordinate diaries so that you and your interviewerer are in the same place at the same time.
Video calls are a great solution to this, as they allow you to speak as close to face to face as possible, rather than being just a mysterious voice on the end of a phone line. If your experience with video calling only goes as far as FaceTiming your friends from bed on a hungover Saturday then there are one or two things to bear in mind, read on to find out more.
Online interviewing is a unique blend of skills, experience, intuition and… broadband speed. If your internet connection is patchy, then tell the person you’re booking the interview with – ideally before the call is booked. You don’t want to be trying to pitch yourself while appearing a broken, garbled mess. It’s better to source another location or, if that won’t work, to arrange a phone call.
Test your connectivity before you have your call and, if you’re in the middle of your conversation and it suddenly sounds like you’re talking to R2-D2, then stop the conversation and try just using audio. This often clears things up, but if not then try and switch to the phone.
If you’re doing your video interview from your home, then take a quick look around at your surroundings. Do you have washing hung out to dry behind you? Are there housemates who might walk by? Kids who want to play? Overexcited animals? Exotic artwork that might be a little, well, out there?
Try and choose – or create – a de-cluttered space (even if that means hiding some things out of shot) and communicate to people who you live with that you need some quiet time. If you can’t do your video interview from home, then choose a location that is appropriate. Noisy cafes are awkward, especially when the barista is making a macchiato while you try and talk about your five-year plan. They are also not private, and you could be talking about your salary and the other finer details of employment in front of a room full of strangers.
Lighting is really important for Skype interviews. Make sure you’re not in the dark (no one wants to feel like they’re taking their chances on ChatRoulette), and that you have an interview appropriate outfit on (or, at least on your top half).
Camera angles are also useful for showing your best features. A slight downward tilt will avoid looking like an earthworm – using a few books to raise your computer normally helps to achieve this.
Try and look into the camera as much as possible, as it emphasises your connection with your interviewer and builds rapport. At the same time, give yourself a smile check before you get going.
You’re a person, not a mannequin so make sure you move those arms. Try and use some (gentle) gesticulations when you speak: remember a video call is a great way to communicate what you’re like in person, and if you don’t maximise on that opportunity then you might as well just be on a phone call.
It’s really obvious if someone is using the computer at the same time as they are talking. Have your CV printed and available to read through for reference, and also have a notepad handy for any points you might want to remember. Don’t try to get away with opening documents while you’re Skyping; believe us, they’ll know.
As with a face-to-face interview, make sure that you thank the person for their time at the close of the call, and properly end the conversation. Don’t finish by slamming your laptop lid closed: end the call in a relaxed and happy manner, making sure that you remember to smile.